Adventures on the island of Sark
The island of Sark is part of the Channel island and lies in the English Channel, off the coast of Normandy in France and is the smallest of the four main islands with an area of just over 5km2 and a population of roughly 500 people.
The island has a really interesting and unusual past and it’s residents were mostly farmers or involved in the fishing or shipping trade. Although this is still true today in the early 1850’s Sark had a total transformation with the first visitors to the island arriving and staying at recently built hotels that the island formally did not have at all.
Nevertheless, when people come to visit Sark now it still seems as though you are stepping back in time to a period in history when life was slower paced, and more relaxed. The island actually does not have any tarmac roads, so therefore does not have any cars! People here either get around on bikes, by foot, or by horse drawn carts. For me it’s a perfect get away destination!
Indeed, even though it is so close to both the UK and France it seems world away and is one of the last inhabited places on earth where transport is only permitted via horses or tractors. If all of this sounds to idyllic to be true, read on to find out the best things to do and see when you visit this serene and magical island.
1. Visit The Beautiful La Seigneurie
As a result of Sark’s rich past that stretches back for centuries, there are many great historical sites to visit but one of the best ones to see during your stay would have to so La Seigneurie. This building has been the traditional residence of the Seigneur of Sark for centuries and was built with many towers and has its own windmill.
The gardens, which include a hedge maze, are able to be explored and more recently the house is actually also able to be wandered through which is a delightful experience. There is also a path you can follow through the woodlands surrounding the main house to the ponds which was created by monks that used to live in the area in 565 AD!
2. Cross La Coupeé And Take A Walk Around Little Shark
The island of Sark is divided into the northern and southern section’s known affectionately as Big Sark and Little Sark. To get from one side of the island to the other I had to cross a narrow causeway called La Coupée. This path is beautiful and breathtaking as on either side there is an 80-meter sheer drop with water lapping at the bottom of both of the cliff edges.
Although the path is so precariously placed it is only recently that safety measures were introduced. The guard rails that lines the road were laid down by German prisoners of war and prior to these safety measures being put into place it is said that children crossing the causeway would crawl along it on their hands and knees for fear of being blown off!
3. Enjoy The Darkest Skies And Brightest Stars
Another one of the weird and wonderful things about the small island of Sark, is that it does not have any streetlights! Although this is probably hard to fathom it really does give the island its own feel – as if you have truly stepped back in time once the sun sets.
One advantage of this is stage the island gets to experience exceptionally dark night skies which has actually been recognised by the International Dark Sky Association in 2011 (you’d be forgiven for not knowing this association exists!). The best place to take full advantage of these beautifully dark skies is Sark’s observatory which holds regular observatory sessions in the evenings for the public.
4. See Sark’s Answer To Stone Henge
Sark has its own version of the English monument – Sark Henge! Although the stones are nowhere near as large (in fact they are very small) it is still an interesting place to visit. This is a very new attraction for the island, with the stone circle having been built in 2015 with each stone representing Sark’s medieval territories.
An interesting feature about Sark Henge is that each of the stones have a viewing hole near the top of them which lines up with an island landmark such as La Coupée, St Ouen’s Bay and Alderney.
Another island that you should not miss is Herm. Learn more about a Caribbean of the Channel Islands: An Island Paradise – Herm